With less than a year to go until next summer’s World Cup, we’re admittedly already pretty excited.
And while we’re fairly certain England will make it to Russia next year, the days of our unrivalled pre-tournament optimism has long gone (personally, mine died on 27 June 2010, when Thomas Muller smashed home Germany’s fourth in Bloemfontein, South Africa).
The national team’s consistent failings at major tournaments have left us jaded and desperate.
And ever since the Olympics in 2012, we’ve been mildly fascinated by the idea of a Great Britain football team, which is essentially a team made up of talent from England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
While Stuart Pearce’s GB team fell rather pathetically to South Korea in the knockout stage of the Olympics five years ago, the home nations have all shown their quality in recent seasons, especially Wales last summer at Euro 2016.
Boy, were we envious.
So just for fun, let’s imagine what a GB team could look like if it competed in Russia next summer.
Here’s our take:
Joe Hart’s recent form maybe erratic for both club and country, but we’ve given him the benefit of the doubt for now.
He’d be our starter next summer, but his performances for our GB side would be closely monitored, with a handful of shot-stoppers waiting in the wings to take his place.
In England alone, there’s Fraser Forster, Tom Heaton and Premier League record-signing Jordan Pickford, but we’d probably opt for Jack Butland as Hart’s understudy.
And as for our third ‘keeper, why not Wales international Danny Ward?
The Liverpool goalie is riding high after an awesome season on-loan with Huddersfield, and will hopefully strut his stuff in the Premier League next season.
And we certainly haven’t forgotten Wales’ Euro 2016 hero Wayne Hennessy, or even Scotland’s fairly reliable Craig Gordon.
Our GB line-up is fairly England heavy at the back, but there’s a plethora of top quality options available to us.
For instance, Danny Rose’s position at left-back is under heavy fire from his Spurs teammate Ben Davies of Wales, while Ashley Williams would certainly feel aggrieved not to be ahead of Northern Ireland’s Johnny Evans and England’s Gary Cahill at centre-back.
On the right, we’re fairly confident Kyle Walker and Nathaniel Clyne can do the business, but we’re not ruling out Scotland’s Andrew Robertson to challenge the regular duo.
Yes, Scott Brown has made our midfield.
But with his pass completion rating in last season’s Champions League, and his take-no-prisoners attitude, we’d probably like this guy in and around our squad.
Alongside Brown is Spurs’ reliable midfield enforcer Eric Dier alongside the ever-so-talented Aaron Ramsey, so we’re relatively happy with our trio in the middle.
Realistically, we’d take Scotland’s Robert Snodgrass as he can play on the wing or up front, and loves to score a goal or two.
Similarly, England’s Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has done plenty to warrant inclusion, and has been in fine form for club and country recently.
We’d also opt for N. Ireland’s experienced midfielder Steven Davis, and even thee quietly excellent Joe Allen.
But it’s in attack where this side flourishes.
We’re pretty set on our attacking three, with few nations boasting a better forward line that Gareth Bale, Harry Kane and Dele Alli.
As backup, we’ve got Manchester United teenager Marcus Rashford, Leicester’s Jamie Vardy and Scotland’s Leigh Griffiths, who showed us all what he can do when he scored a brace against England only weeks ago.
Russia, here we come.